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South Carolina's Own UFO Welcome Center

Nope, you didn't read that wrong. Today, I'm telling you about the intergalatic space center right here in South Carolina.

How have I not heard of this prestigious place? you might ask yourself as you imagine something along the lines of the SETI Institute or the Aricebo radio telescope.

Well, there's a reason why you haven't heard of it. And it's because the Bowman UFO Welcome Center is anything but prestigious.

In reality, the UFO Center in Bowman, South Carolina (which is a little town located about halfway between Charleston and Columbia) is one man's folly and one of those really random things you come across in small towns every once in a while.

It was started in the mid-1990s by Bowman resident Jody Pendarvis, who started building it without much rhyme or reason. He's even lived in the structure on and off over the years (he has his actual house right next door). I should probably mention that my husband's family is from Bowman (hi, all!), but I have been assured that they aren't related. I'm not sure how that ties into the rest of this blog post, but it seems relevant right now, so I'm going with it.

Anyway, the Welcome Center is located in the middle of Bowman. You can't miss it, as it's made of two different UFO-shaped tiers, the largest of which is over 40 feet wide. When Pendarvis originally built the center/ behemoth, he sold tickets for a dollar for people to come visit and see the location where extraterrestrials were going to land. According to the UFO Welcome Center's wikipedia page (yes, it totally exists, thanks to my husband's cousin, who authored it!), tickets had risen to $20 in the mid-2000s.

As far as I've heard from word on the Bowman street, tickets aren't available anymore. It's okay--I'll wait while you cry a little. But you can still keep the UFO Welcome Center on your road trip to-do list, as you can stop and take pictures of it from the street 24/7/365.

And aliens, if you ever happen to land at the UFO Welcome Center, let me be the first to apologize on behalf of the entire human race and especially on behalf of the state of South Carolina.

If you need to go to the UFO Welcome Center (or if you know some friendly extraterrestrials who need some directions), take I-26 to exit 159. Turn onto Homestead Road towards Bowman. Before you come to the stop sign at Charleston Highway, the UFO Center will be on your left. You can't miss it.

Do you have a bizarre landmark in your town? Do you like stopping at weird/ off-beat/ unusual places when you're on a road trip?